Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The one and only Ivan who gives Disney’s pandemic-stricken direct-to-streaming refugee The One and Only Ivan its title is a very subdued gorilla played by a CGI effect and voiced by Sam Rockwell, and he spends mot of the the movie doing almost nothing other than just kind of hanging out, being quiet, and looking […]

Some years ago, I began a review of 2015’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water by noting that it was the first piece of media in the SpongeBob SquarePants universe that I had ever encountered. Flash-forward to 2021 and I shall begin my review of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run much the […]

Given the pandemic-related days to its release date, Raya and the Last Dragon, the 59th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animation Studios canon has by chance landed on exactly the same weekend, relatively speaking, as Pixar Animation Studios’ first release of 2020, Onward – the tenth weekend of their respective calendar years. And this […]

Earwig and the Witch, the first feature made by the reborn Studio Ghibli after it seemingly closed up shop for good with 2014’s When Marnie Was There and the 2016 co-production The Red Turtle, finds the company trying to create a new artistic identity for itself. I would say that I am uncertain of how stable […]

Part of the appeal of animation is that it can depict anything that can be imagined outside of the bounds of physical reality, but in practice there tend to be limits on just how creative any given film can be: the hard limits of labor and money mean that, in general, the boldest, most radical […]

2020 has been a complete disaster for movies, on top of all the other things it has been a disaster for, but it managed to scrounge up a miracle in its last days: Pixar Animation Studios is alive and well. It was far too easy to wonder if the studio, a full decade after its […]

So, Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite! You’ve just got to love the stubborn optimism of that exclamation point, by the way. Like we’ll be convinced that it’s a bubbly, fun bit of high-energy nonsense if our brain reflexively rises up in volume as we read it Also, I cannot shake the feeling that it […]

“The feature film directorial debut of former superstar Disney animator Glen Keane” cannot possibly help but be a big deal, even if it’s not a big deal. Apologies for trying to be cryptic right out of the gate, but I’m doing it with a purpose: the unfortunately reality is that Over the Moon – the […]

The films of Don Bluth have been a much more reliable source of franchise than I would have ever imagined. The Secret of NIMH got a sequel, though it took 16 years; An American Tail got three sequels, one of which played theaters; All Dogs Go to Heaven, despite being wildly perceived as a failure, […]

The dream of Sullivan Bluth Studios, later Don Bluth Entertainment, came to a miserable end late in 1994. Over the previous nine years, the company (the second one co-founded by Bluth) had ascended as high as An American Tail in 1986 and The Land Before Time in 1988, the first two animated features ever to […]

The drastic tumble that animation director and producer Don Bluth took in the 1990s is shocking and even a little bit sad. His career in the 1980s was dedicated to the idea that there was a better way to do animation than the clunky kiddie junk that Walt Disney Feature Animation had been reduced to, […]

51 years after the premiere of the animated series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! on television, I can absolutely see where the idea of using a reboot of that series to launch a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe makes business sense. That’s three or even four completely distinct generations that have grown up with Scooby-Doo, the one Hanna-Barbera […]